By John Hack, Staff Writer
Photo by Liam Beard/ The Towerlight
Towson captured a tight 10-9 win over Hofstra in its first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) match of the season Saturday afternoon at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
“We came into this game talking about how it’s all about us. We’ve been working on improving as a team,” said senior midfielder Grant Maloof. “The last three losses have been tough but, today we clicked on most parts of our team.
Both teams struggled in the opening five minutes as they exchanged offensive turnovers in the box along with a few shots that were wide or saved.
Hofstra (3-7, 0-1 CAA) broke the scoreless streak at the 9:50 mark when junior attackman Ryan Tierney sneaked a bounce shot past Towson junior goalie Tyler Canto.
The Tigers responded just 45 seconds later when Maloof tied the game with the first of his three goals on the afternoon. Maloof struck again less than a minute later with an assist from attackman Brendan Sunday.
The end of the opening quarter, however, did not end well for the Tigers with Hofstra striking three times in a span of 2:41 to lead 4-2 heading into the second frame.
Junior midfielder Brody McLean stopped the bleeding for Towson when he scored his first of three goals on the day at the 13:51 mark of the second quarter.
After both teams exchanged goals, Hofstra added two consecutive goals to go up 7-4 with 2:53 left in the half.
Looking to spark the defense, redshirt sophomore goalie Shane Brennan replaced Canto in the net. This marked his first time seeing action this season.
“I got a good warmup before the game so it’s not like I’m coming in cold, said Brennan.
Brennan’s ability to come in and keep Towson in the game wasn’t a surprise to Nadelen.
“We’ve always been confident that we’ve got an experienced guy in Shane to go in there. We had every confidence that we would be in good shape,” Nadelen said. “Canto was a great teammate when he got pulled out.
McLean scored his third goal of the afternoon at the 1:57 mark of the second quarter to cut the deficit to two heading into halftime.
The Tigers showed more life in the second half as Maloof and senior midfielder Timmy Monahan helped get the Tigers back on the horse when the former set up the latter with his tenth tally of the season.
For the next 18 minutes, Towson’s defense held Hofstra scoreless. McLean, junior midfielder Jake McLean, sophomore midfielder Greg Ey and Sunday each scored goals to mark a 5-0 run and build a 10-7 lead.
“Our offense knows what to do, we just have to execute,” Maloof said. “Third quarter came around, and we just started moving the ball through ‘X’, getting the ball hot and everyone was putting away their shots.”
Despite several close instances on near misses, including a crossbar hit, Towson’s defense was able to hold off Hofstra long enough, only giving up two goals in the final 12 and a half minutes to secure the win.
The win was much needed considering that the squad was gasping for a victory since their win over Jacksonville University four games ago.
“Im proud of our team for grinding out a tough CAA win.” said Head Coach Shawn Nadelen. “[ First half defense] was kind of a double edged sword. We weren’t playing great on ball, and we weren’t supporting when we needed to…and then when they did get dangerous, I thought we were able to slide…to get some good one-on-one matchups.”
The Tigers’ win over conference foe Hofstra puts them at 1-0 in conference play heading into their matchup next week when the team heads to Connecticut to take on Fairfield University Saturday afternoon. Game time is at 1 p.m.